Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Sweeping sanctions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump on Venezuela are an act of "gross interference" and violate the norms of international relations, China said.
China's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Wednesday condemned the freezing of Venezuela's government assets, stating sanctions only "increase the risk of the situation getting out of control."
"China urges the United States to face up to the essence of the Venezuelan issue, return to the right path of respecting the international law and support the dialogue process of the Venezuelan government and the opposition," she said. "The United States should let the Venezuelan people decide their future and immediately stop the bullying behavior of wantonly suppressing other countries."
Hua said despite the sanctions China will continue to cooperate with Venezuela as it benefits the people of both countries.
"We advise the United States to draw lessons from history and give up sowing discord immediately," she said.
China's admonishment comes in response to the sanctions imposed by an executive order signed by Trump and comments by White House national security advisor John Bolton who warned China and Russia against aiding Venezuela.
"To both Russia and China, we say that your support to the Maduro regime is intolerable, particularly to the democratic regime that will replace Maduro," Bolton said during a speech at a conference in Peru. "We say again to Russia, and especially to those who control its finances, do not double down on a bad bet."
In a letter announcing the sanctions to the U.S. House of Representatives, Trump said he decided the new sanctions were necessary "in light of the continued usurpation of power by the illegitimate Maduro regime, as well as the regime's human rights abuses, arbitrary arrest and detention of Venezuelan citizens, curtailment of free press and ongoing attempts to undermine interim president Juan Guaido of Venezuela and the democratically elected Venezuelan National Assembly."
In retaliation to the sanctions, Maduro ordered his government's representative to not attend scheduled talks in Barbados with the opposition, "due to the grave and brutal aggression" of the Trump administration, according to a government statement on Wednesday.
China is one of few allies Maduro has in his struggle to retain control of Venezuela under increasing pressure from the United States for him to step down.
Maduro has attempted to cling to power since January when his claim to the country's helm was deemed illegitimate and opposition leader Guaido declared himself interim president.
Since then, more than 50 countries, including the United States and most democratically elected governments, have recognized Guaido's rule of Venezuela.